Words couldn’t describe what Peggy Huckstadt felt as she watched her East Gresford home burn to the ground on Wednesday night.
The mother of five was forced to flee the burning home with her children as the building and everything inside was destroyed.
The Park Street residence belonged to Peggy’s mother, Judith, who had owned it for about 40 years.
The family’s nightmare began about 7pm when Peggy was spraying an aerosol can in the loungeroom.
She saw a lighter on the ground and checked to see it worked.
The fumes from the aerosol can ignited in an explosion that burned her hand and stomach.
Flames spread quickly across the lounge room and throughout the house.
Peggy ran to the kitchen and filled a saucepan with water in an attempt to douse the fire, but her efforts were in vain.
“It was just too late,” she said.
The family fled the home. Peggy tried to put the fire out with a garden hose, but it didn’t reach.
Peggy’s eldest daughter turned the power off and called triple-0.
Fire crews from Gresford, Vacy, Paterson and Bolwarra responded to the call and extinguished the blaze.
The family could do nothing but watch on in horror as their home and all of their belongings were destroyed.
Neighbours said the fire consumed the weatherboard house in less than half an hour.
“I was just so stunned,” Peggy said.
“The kids are devastated. They’ve lost everything.”
“I’ve got nothing,” Judith added.
The Huckstadts’ small dog went missing after the fire and the family fears the worst.
Judith also lost everything that had belonged to her husband, who died three years ago.
The family was unsure of where they would go, especially because Peggy’s children were still at school.
“I don’t know what to do, I don’t know what to think,” Peggy said.
The bereft family is now welcoming any donations from community members.
Items can be delivered to neighbour Bev Herbert at 11 Park Street, East Gresford, or to the The Twin Rivers Cafe, which is also on Park Street, East Gresford.
The family is in need of clothes and shoes. The girls are 15, nine and eight while the boys are both 11.